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What are Olympiad exams?

Olympiads are national and international-level exams that test one’s ability to critically analyse and understand the core principles of a subject. Keen to give their kids a competitive edge at a young age, parents enroll them in Olympiads. 

We often hear about Olympiads when we are in school but think of it as just another exam. An exam for which you have to study, just like the rest. 

Why did we hear so often about taking Olympiad exams in schools? How to register for Olympiad exams?

These competitive exams provide exposure to students and make them future-ready. Another exam that helps students assess their aptitudes is an online aptitude test. 

Toppr STAR is one such test for which students can register for free; India’s Biggest Online Aptitude Test where students compete at a national level to evaluate their strengths and learning skills. 

Based on the school curriculum of CBSE, ICSE, and other major boards, Olympiad exams are conducted by different organisation bodies across India and abroad. The question paper for these exams is objective-type with multiple-choice questions.

Olympiad exam-conducting bodies are as follows:

  • Indian Talent Olympiad
  • SOF (Science Olympiad Foundation)
  • Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Foundation
  • CREST Olympiads (Online Olympiad Exams)
  • Unicus Olympiads (Summer Olympiad Exams)
  • Educational Initiatives (ASSET)
  • Silver Zone Foundation
  • Unified Council

Registration for Olympiad Exams

You can participate in an Olympiad exam either

  • through your school or
  • by participating individually through the above-mentioned bodies

Now that we know what Olympiad exams are, let’s also look at the importance of Olympiads.

Benefits of Olympiads

Here are the 5 must-know benefits of Olympiads:


  1. Enhance reasoning skills
  2. Provide exposure
  3. Better class performance
  4. Give recognition to the geniuses 
  5. Boost confidence

Read on.

1. Enhance reasoning skills: These exams help students to cultivate analytical thinking which is useful in any examination. Olympiads not only improve logical thinking and help in brainstorming but also enhance analytical and reasoning ability, problem-solving skills, and confidence. Overall, it helps in the development of a child at a young stage.

2. Provide exposure: Competing at the national or international level not only helps them gain additional knowledge but also gives an early exposure to competition. The competitive nature of these exams tends to mould participants into sharp-minded beings and ‘clever problem solvers.

3. Better class performance: Olympiads challenge students’ intellect in such a way that it promotes a deeper understanding of scientific facts. The exam questions improve their conceptual understanding, enable students to grasp tricky concepts, and help them better understand the concepts that they are taught in class.

4. Give recognition to geniuses: Olympiad exams help in identifying young, bright minds and bring out the best in students. An Olympiad’s objective is to provide a competitive platform to students, thus creating a talent pool for the future.

5. Boost confidence: Olympiads inspire students to aspire and strive for better and emerge out to be the best. A student holding a rank in an Olympiad develops a sense of confidence. It gives students a chance to sharpen their skills by tackling several problems at a difficulty level that they are not likely to encounter in their school classrooms.

Olympiad exams evaluate conceptual learning and strengthen the reasoning ability, analytical and problem-solving skills of a student from an early age. Thus, making the student future-ready and capable to take on and tackle challenges.

The major subjects in which Olympiad exams are conducted are as follows:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English
  • General Knowledge
  • Reasoning

Olympiad Questions, Sample Papers & Mock Tests

Olympiads give more knowledge and confidence to students. They are held with the motive of helping students realize their potential. Be it NSO or IMO or any other olympiad exam, it is essential that you study the course and practice questions, solve mock tests and sample papers. The more you practice, the better your results will be. Given below is a list of Olympiad exams that students from different classes can attempt. 

And to access sample papers and mock tests, first, visit Toppr, select your syllabus and grade, then the examination, and start practicing.

National Science Olympiad (NSO) (V to XII) (PCB & PCM) 

  • The National Science Olympiad (NSO) is a yearly competitive exam conducted for school students.
  • Organized by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF), this exam aims at cultivating scientific reasoning and logical ability among the students through a rigorous test.
  • The Science Olympiad Foundation primarily instills scientific curiosity and vigour in young students through competitive exams.
  • Here’s some more information on NSO.
  • Here’s a list of competitive exams you can participate in.

International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) (V to XII)

  • The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is held annually in a different country.
  • The first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania, with 7 countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from 5 continents.
  • The IMO Board ensures that the competition takes place each year and that each host country observes the regulations and traditions of the IMO.

International English Olympiad (IEO) (V to XII)  

  • The International English Olympiad is commonly known as the IEO. It is a one-of-a-kind exam that is the first in the history of testing the English language in India.
  • Only the participating schools hold and conduct the IEO exam.
  • These schools should be affiliated to the ICSE, CBSE, or State Boards in order to be eligible to conduct the exam.
  • Students who have qualified for the level 1 exam will move ahead to take the level 2 IEO exam.
  • The IEO question paper will be prepared by the British Council.
  • The IEO exam will be conducted/evaluated by SOF.
  • The students will get participation/winning certification jointly from SOF and the British Council.

Olympiad Exams – Preparation Tips

Olympiad Exams are like competitive exams. It can be challenging for students to prepare for them. But with precision, determination, and a good strategy, one can crack any and every test.

  1. Visualise yourself as a topper

The secret to performing well in any Olympiad is staying confident. Keep visualizing your success, and it will come to you.

2. Eat well and sleep well

You’ve probably read this enough times, but one cannot emphasize enough the importance of eating and sleeping well. Nourish your mind and body with good food and sleep. Sleeping helps your brain to retain any new information and balance out any stress. 

3. Create a smart schedule

First, create your revision timetable. Planning your day in advance will help you execute better. The best way is to revise in short blocks of 40-60 minutes and then have small breaks to rest your mind.- If you eat well and sleep well, you’ll always stay fresh. And a fresh mind learns better and faster.

4. Stick to your schedule

Wake up early and revise. Not only will it help your mind retain what you study in the early hours of the day but also give you more time to plan the rest of your day. Cover at least 85 percent of the topics that are needed. Your priority list should be in such a way that you study the high weightage topics first, and then the ones with lower weightage.

5. Prepare yourself mentally

Say you’ve got about 2 or 4 weeks before the Olympiad exam day. You need to be ready to work hard and cover all topics in the limited time frame you have.

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